More accommodation for homeless asylum seekers camping at Grand Canal to be available this week

More than 100 tents now pitched along the canal at Wilton Terrace near Baggot Street

More accommodation for homeless asylum seekers currently camping by the Grand Canal in Dublin will be available this week, Minister for Children and Integration Roderic O’Gorman has said.

Speaking in Dublin on Monday, he said his department had been “working hard over the past week” and would have “additional capacity available across this week”.

“We will be working hard with other agencies to ensure we can provide offers to those currently sleeping rough on the Grand Canal,” Mr O’Gorman said.

His comments come as numbers sheltering in tents by the waterway continue to increase, with more than 100 tents now pitched along the canal at Wilton Terrace near Baggot Street.


Asked about plans to accommodate international protection applicants in military-tents at Thornton Hall in the north Dublin, Mr O’Gorman could not give a “specific time” as to when the site would come into such use, but he believed it would be “in a number of weeks”.

His department, which includes the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS), is planning to use a portion of the 160-acre site to accommodate male asylum seekers who, since December 4th last year, are not being offered accommodation on presentation at the International Protection Office.

“Thornton Hall is an example of this multi-agency response that we have seen over the last number of weeks, particularly since we published the comprehensive accommodation strategy,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“My department is working with the Department of Justice, working with the Irish Prison Service, so I really welcome the fact we are seeing movement on it now. I can’t give you a specific time in terms of when we will be accommodating people [in Thornton Hall] ... I believe it will be in the next number of weeks.

“We will be initially looking at tented accommodation ... and then we will look to upgrade that in terms of rapid build and modular units. It will be tented accommodation initially. We have teams analysing the site.”

As of Friday there were 1,856 male asylum seekers “awaiting offer of accommodation”, according to data from IPAS. A total of 3,280 eligible males have applied for asylum since December 4th, of whom 326 were offered accommodation after a vulnerability triage. A total of 1,098 have been offered accommodation subsequent to not being offered any and 2,954 have received an increase in their daily expense allowance in lieu of accommodation.

Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times